Divorced fathers' perceptions of parental disclosures to children
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] Parental disclosures about divorce-related topics can help children understand changes and reduce uncertainty following divorce; however, such disclosures can be often hurtful and damaging if they contain harmful and inappropriate messages. Although divorced fathers are important in children's lives, little is known about these fathers' perceptions of parental disclosures. This study examines divorced fathers' perceptions of the inappropriateness of parental disclosures, drawing upon sensitizing concepts from family systems and communication privacy management theories. Using vignette techniques, I conducted a grounded theory study of 20 divorced fathers who had shared or legal custody of a child in adolescence. Fathers' judgments about the inappropriateness of disclosures were generally consistent when discussing disclosures made by other parents. However, I found fathers were less consistent when evaluating their own disclosures. Fathers' judgments were influenced by various factors (e.g., life experiences), and these factors functioned as guiding premises for their own behaviors and disclosing strategies regarding how much and when to share information with their children.
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